John Sullivan onstage at New Cinema Conference

New Cinema Conference includes John Sullivan on the history, and the future of the art

Customer expectations: what makes a difference

‘’Cinema magic to me,’’John stated, ” is when product, technology and delivery all align.”

In his presentation, he looked back at the history of cinema and discussed how product, technology and delivery have changed over time – starting with Greek theatre. According to John, this form of theatre was already highly technical. As time went on, it underwent a number of changes: the Romans added audience participation and its focus moved away from gods and onto ‘real’ people (which gave people the ability to identify with what they saw onstage). Vaudeville theatre would ultimately lead to the silent film. The addition of sound gave way to picture palaces, which, in turn, made cinema-going more involving. The invention of the television put a dent in the success of the cinema, but, with the help of CGI, it managed to survive. Ever since then, everything has gotten bigger: from the movies themselves to theatres they’re screened in.

But what’s going to be the next step?According to John, cinema owners are not embracing the fact that technology is moving to other realms. He posited: ‘’We’ve got this massive wave of technology, but I don’t think we’re using it in the way that we could be using it.” One thing, however, seems to be certain: people are longing for experiences. Where that’s going to lead us, remains still unclear. But the fact that something is happening seems undeniable.

John Sullivan first became active in cinema through various arthouse interests in Australia and New Zealand in the late 1980s and subsequently moved to Village Roadshow as Senior VP of International Development. He is also the founding director of The Light Cinemas. John has also been active in 30 international markets, developing or advising on cinema developments throughout Europe.

Visit New Cinema Conference report, at Film Research Netherlands for more

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